Bolivia mission family back in Norwich
missionary couple Simon and Melssa Snell
and their children have returned from their 18 month placement working with vulnerable communities in Bolivia. They bade some tearful farewells as they left and have big decisions to make about the future.
The couple have returned to Norwich and are adjusting once again to UK culture and seeing friends and family. They are staying in the vicarage attached to their church - St Luke’s on Aylsham Road. Melissa says, “This is such a blessing for us as it means we have somewhere we can call ‘home’ for a few weeks and unpack more than just one suitcase!”
During their time in Bolivia, Simon was working for Christian relief and development organisation Food for the Hungry. His role was to work with rural businesses to help people get out of poverty. Melissa was working with a pregnancy crisis centre and co-ordinating sex education and antenatal classes.
The couple spent the final weeks in Bolivia packing up the house and finishing off their projects. Simon finalised the business plans he has been working on and managed to establish regular supply for some crops. While in Bolivia, Simon worked alongside Javier, a local farmer who wanted to set up a bakery. Simon helped with training, refurbishment of the building and the business plan. Simon says, "I did get one last chance to go to the rural area on my penultimate day, which was very special. I got to see Javier’s bakery, and find that his daughter Miriam is baking 600 rolls a week."
Melissa spent her final weeks finishing off guidelines for the sex education course she has been developing and writing up her pre natal course manual will continue to be of use.
Simon has decided not to start training for ordination. After a lot of prayer and discussion, he has decided that his heart at the moment is in small business development and microfinance work. Consequently, he withdrew from his place at Trinity College, Bristol a couple of weeks ago. He says, “Over the years I have felt God calling me to be a pastor and shepherd and we both still feel that is the case, but perhaps not as a church leader – at least at the moment. We feel that this may well be in the context of doing mission work within the microfinance/small business sector."
Simon recognises a need for more training and has identified a great course in Pennsylvania (USA) having found nothing quite as good in this country so far. It is too late to start this year so he expects to be applying for August 2010. After that the family hopes to return to South America for longer term mission work.
With these change of plans Melissa is currently considering undertaking a Masters in Reproductive and Sexual Health in London this year, but they are still looking into the logistics of this plan to see if it is feasible. Therefore they are planning to remain in Norwich, with Simon looking for work.
Pictured above Charlotte saying goodbye to friends at church and Javier and family standing proudly in front of their bakery.